Author Topic: HARTFORD CHILD DOE (1944): WM, 10-11, victim of the Hartford circus fire - 6 July 1944  (Read 173 times)

Akoya

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Deceased is one of the unidentified victims from the Hartford Circus Fire on July 6, 1944

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Akoya

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https://www.namus.gov/UnidentifiedPersons/Case#/59500?nav



Unidentified Person / NamUs #UP59500Male, White / Caucasian
Date Body Found
July 6, 1944
Location Found
Hartford, Connecticut
Estimated Age Range
10-11 Years

Case Information
Case Numbers

NCMEC Number
--
ME/C Case Number
1510

Demographics
Sex
Male
Race / Ethnicity
White / Caucasian

Estimated Age Group
Adolescent
Estimated Age Range (Years)
10-11
Estimated Year of Death
1944
Estimated PMI
--
Height
4' 4"-5' 4"(52-64 inches) , Estimated
Weight
70-80 lbs, Estimated

Circumstances

Type
Unidentified Deceased
Date Body Found
July 6, 1944
NamUs Case Created
August 19, 2019
ME/C QA Reviewed
--
Location Found Map
General Location
Barbour Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06102
County
Hartford County
GPS Coordinates
--
Circumstances of Recovery
Deceased is one of the unidentified victims of the Hartford Circus Fire on July 6, 1944
Details of Recovery
Inventory of Remains
--
Condition of Remains
Not recognizable - Charred/burned

Physical Description
Hair Color
Unknown
Head Hair Description
--
Body Hair Description
--
Facial Hair Description
--
Left Eye Color
Unknown
Right Eye Color
Unknown
Eye Description
--
Distinctive Physical Features
No Information Entered

Clothing and Accessories
Item
Description
Clothing White ribbed shorts
undershirt with shoulder straps On the Body

Investigating Agencies
Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner
(860) 679-3980

Agency Case Number
1510

Akoya

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Barbour St
Hartford, CT 06120

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http://www.circusfire1944.com/memorials.html

The Hartford Circus Fire ~ July 6, 1944

Memorials



Hartford Circus Fire Memorial
The completed memorial has been erected at the site of the circus fire, behind the Wish School at 350 Barbour Street in Hartford, Connecticut, and was dedicated on July 6, 2005. The memorial consists of several bronze plaques that describe what was happening at specific times during the fire. The center plaque sits exactly where the center ring of the bigtop was on July 6, 1944, and has the names of each victim of the circus fire embossed on it.

Hartford Circus Fire Memorial at Northwood Cemetery

A memorial was erected at the Northwood Cemetery in Windsor, Connecticut, and is inscribed as follows: "This plot of Ground consecrated by the City of Hartford as a Resting Place for three adults and three children who lost their lives in the Circus Fire. July 6, 1944. Their identity known but to God."




The Frank Bradley Memorial
Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company

This granite and bronze sculpture commemorating Simsbury firefighters is named after the first fire company member to die. Frank Bradley and his wife Helen were victims of the Hartford Circus Fire in 1944, just days after the formation of the fire company.

Consisting of a cast bronze helmet on top of a six-sided granite sculpture, each of the six sides of the memorial represents one of the fire stations in town. A bell from the department’s old ladder truck inside the sculpture is rung at the annual memorial service. The surrounding Memorial Walkway honors deceased fire company members who achieved honorary life status and those who died while an active fire company member.


Hartford Circus Fire Virtual Cemetery
www.findagrave.com

Find A Grave members collect and publish information and photographs of burial markers, including a virtual cemetery of the victims of the circus fire.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartford_circus_fire

Hartford circus fire

The Hartford circus fire, which occurred on July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, was one of the worst fire disasters in United States history.[1] The fire occurred during an afternoon performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that was attended by 6,000 to 8,000 people. The fire killed 167 people[2] and more than 700 were injured.

Background
In mid-20th century America, a typical circus traveled from town to town by train, performing under a huge canvas tent commonly called a "big top". The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was no exception: what made it stand out was that it was the largest circus in the country. Its big top could seat 9,000 spectators around its three rings; the tent's canvas had been coated with 1,800 pounds (820 kg) of paraffin wax dissolved in 6,000 US gallons (23,000 l) of gasoline, a common waterproofing method of the time.[2]

The circus had been experiencing shortages of personnel and equipment as a result of the United States' involvement in World War II. Delays and malfunctions in the ordinarily smooth order of the circus had become commonplace; on August 4, 1942, a fire had broken out in the menagerie, killing a number of animals. When the circus arrived in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 5, 1944, the trains were so late that one of the two shows scheduled for that day had been canceled.[3] In circus superstition, missing a show is considered extremely bad luck, and although the July 5, 1944 evening show ran as planned, many circus employees may have been on their guard, half-expecting an emergency or catastrophe.[4]

The next day was a Thursday; the crowd at the afternoon performance was dominated by women and children.[2] The size of the audience that day has never been established with certainty, but the best estimate is about 7,000

The fire began as a small flame after the lions performed, on the southwest sidewall of the tent, while the Great Wallendas were performing. Circus bandleader Merle Evans was said to have been the first to spot the flames, and immediately directed the band to play "The Stars and Stripes Forever", the tune that traditionally signaled distress to all circus personnel.[6] Ringmaster Fred Bradna urged the audience not to panic and to leave in an orderly fashion, but the power failed and he could not be heard. Bradna and the ushers unsuccessfully tried to maintain some order as the panicked crowd tried to flee the big top.

The only animals in the big top at the time were the big cats trained by May Kovar and Joseph Walsh that had just finished performing when the fire started. The big cats were herded through the chutes leading from the performing cages to several cage wagons, and were unharmed except for a few minor burns. Though most spectators were able to escape the fire, many people were caught up in the hysteria. Witnesses said some simply ran around in circles trying to find their loved ones, rather than trying to escape from the burning tent. Some escaped but ran back inside to look for family members. Others stayed in their seats until it was too late, assuming that the fire would be put out promptly. Because at least two of the exits were blocked by the chutes used to bring the show's big cats in and out of the tent, people trying to escape could not bypass them.

The cause of the fire remains unresolved. Investigators at the time believed it was caused by a carelessly flicked cigarette; however, others suspected an arsonist. Several years later, while being investigated on other arson charges, Robert Dale Segee (1929–1997), who was an adolescent at the time, confessed to starting the blaze. He was never tried for the crime and later recanted his confession.

Because of the paraffin wax waterproofing of the tent, the flames spread rapidly. Many people were badly burned by the melting paraffin, which rained down from the roof. The fiery tent collapsed in about eight minutes according to eyewitness survivors, trapping hundreds of spectators beneath it.[7] Because of a picture that appeared in several newspapers of sad tramp clown Emmett Kelly holding a water bucket, the event became known as "the day the clowns cried."

While many people burned to death, many others died as a result of the ensuing chaos. Sources and investigators differ on how many people were killed and injured. Various people and organizations say it was 167, 168, or 169 persons (the 168 figure is usually based on official tallies that included a collection of body parts that were listed as a "victim") with official treated injury estimates running over 700 people. The number of actual injuries is believed to be higher than those figures, since many people were seen that day heading home in shock without seeking treatment in the city.

It is commonly believed that the number of fatalities is higher than the estimates given, due to poorly kept residency records in rural towns, and the fact that some smaller remains were never identified or claimed. Additionally, free tickets had been handed out that day to many people in and around the city, some of whom appeared to eyewitnesses and circus employees to be drifters who would never have been reported missing.

Some died from injuries sustained after leaping from the tops of the bleachers in hopes they could escape under the sides of the tent, though that method of escape ended up killing more than it saved. Others died after being trampled by other spectators, with some asphyxiating underneath the piles of people who fell over each other. Most of the dead were found in piles, some three bodies deep, at the most congested exits. A small number of people were found alive at the bottoms of these piles, protected by the bodies on top of them when the burning big top ultimately fell down.

In 1950, Robert Dale Segee of Circleville, Ohio claimed during a police interview that he was responsible for setting the circus fire.[9] Following the Ohio police interview, Segee signed a statement admitting to setting the circus fire, a series of other fires, and several murders since his youth.[9] Segee, a 16-year-old roustabout for the show from June 30 to July 14, 1944, claimed that he had a nightmare in which an American Indian riding on a "flaming horse" told him to set fires.[9] According to police authorities, Segee further stated that after this nightmare his mind went blank, and by the time it cleared the circus fire had been set.[9] Some of Segee's hand-drawn images of his bizarre dreams, and images depicting his claimed murders, appeared in Life on July 17, 1950.[10]

In November 1950, Segee was convicted in Ohio of unrelated arson charges and sentenced to 44 years of prison time. However, Hartford investigators raised doubts over his confession, as he had a history of mental illness, and it could not be proven he was anywhere within the state of Connecticut when the fire occurred. Connecticut officials were also not allowed to question Segee, even though his alleged crime had occurred in their state.[9] Additionally, Segee, who died in 1997, denied setting the fire as late as 1994 during an interview. Because of this, many investigators, historians and victims believe the true arsonist—if it had indeed been arson—was never found.

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http://www.circusfire1944.com/the-victims.html

The Hartford Circus Fire ~ July 6, 1944

Victim List
The official death toll of the Hartford circus fire, as reported by the board of health, was 168, which questionably included a collection of unidentified parts as an individual victim. The estates of 167 named victims were awarded death settlements by the arbitration board, and in addition to these 167 victims, three others died in the months following the circus fire, and their lives appear to have been shortened as a result of injuries and complications from the fire.

The names of the 167 victims, with their age, are embossed on the bronze memorial erected on the site of the center ring of the circus.


Akoya

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